Sheila Dikshit inaugurates 21st Garden Tourism Festival

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (UNI) Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said the national capital has become a city of flowers and to retain its beauty not only the constant efforts of the government but the participation of the people was needed.

Talking to UNI after inaugurating the 21st Garden Tourism Festival, Ms Dikshit said every effort would be made to make the Garden of Five Senses, one of the prides of Delhi and for its upkeep and beautification, private participation would be sought.

" Maintaining such a huge garden is no mean feat and to keep its beauty intact we are looking for private players so that its soul remains as divine as ever," she said at the Garden of Five Senses, the venue for the annual festival.

Ms Dikshit said a majority of the flowers of the garden this year were not as healthy as they were last year because of harsh cold conditions that prevailed in the capital and the rest of the country.

On this occasion, she also congratulated participants and judges of the festival, saying their role in the event were of immense importance and their contribution must be applauded.

The Chief Minister also released a souvenir of Late Sarla Bhargava, the founder of Kitchen Garden Association, and dedicated the festival to her, saying the relentless work she did to make Delhi the city of flowers deserved the laurels of the highest degree.

Heaping rich praises on Sarla, she said the Kitchen Garden Founder started fasting on Thursdays during the war with Pakistan so that others could emulate her and make their contribution to commensurate the paucity of food grains in the country at that time.

Delhi Tourism Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, Transport Minister Haroon Yousuf, Local MLA Balram Singh Tanwar and Delhi Tourism CMD Sumati Mehta were also present on the occasion.

The festival is being organised with the aim of raising awareness about environment conservation and promoting floriculture.

The festival has become the largest flower show in the city in the past two decades, with more than 40,000 people visiting the festival.

Potted plants, foliage, medicinal and herbal plants are also on display.

This year, the festival, whose theme is 'Indian Ethnic Garden', proposes to adopt an approach of mixing cultural heritage with anything special to create a garden. Terracotta, urns, bells and other such decorative items can be incorporated with trees, be they banana, mango, coconut or kademba. Rustic pergola, seats, tables of log of wood, mounds of green can also be added.

The festival also has various competitions organised in 32 categories such as hanging baskets, seasonal flowers, floral animals, aromatic plants, tray gardens and cut flowers.

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